Coping with Worries and Building Resilience
The key to managing worries lies in our ability to cope with life’s minor issues while building resilience to help us deal with the more serious concerns.
Let’s just admit it, we all worry. Some of us worry a lot. We worry about everything from getting the kids to soccer practice on time, to whether we should wear the green shirt or the blue shirt on the first date, to whether we remembered to set the DVR for the newest episode of our favorite show, to even more important worries about current and future major health issues. Life is full of opportunities to worry — we all have our share.
The worry that helps us find solutions to major issues concerning money, work or home, can be good. However, excessive worrying, thinking about a problem so much that it disrupts other activities and interests, may cause more harm than good.
The key to managing worries lies in our ability to cope with life’s minor issues while building resilience to help us deal with the more serious concerns of money, work and health.
One of the definitions of resilience applies to substances or objects and refers to its elasticity — the ability to spring back into shape. How elastic are we when the major worries of life begin to overwhelm us? Have we developed toughness or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties?
As with most things we want to change or improve about our life, the first step involves recognition. Learn to recognize excessive worry. Begin by focusing on those moments when you leave the movie theater and don’t remember half of what you just saw because you were too distracted thinking about a problem or concern.
Manage worrying by developing skills that build strong relationships, mental toughness and character strengths. Involving family, friends, peers, and fellow workers can help build resilience through sharing experiences and solutions.
Something as simple as temporarily changing our environment can give us new perspectives on issues and help us think more positively about situations and life in general. Go for a walk, go for a run, go volunteer and provide some service to consciously focus on something other than worries.
Mike Tait is Executive Vice President and Director of Zions Bank’s Human Resources Department.